Marketing You: The Bigger Picture
A successful marketing campaign is more than just a great portfolio and presentation. While those are certainly key pieces, each part of the process–from the first phone call to the follow-up thank you note–reflects you and your personal “brand.” It’s important that you take the time to develop a strong strategy in advance so potential employers have a consistent experience from start to finish.
Define your strategy.
Treat your personal marketing strategy like any other design problem. You are the client, and you have a problem that needs solved (i.e. you want a job). You have a goal or outcome to work towards, and you have a specific set of criteria and guidelines to consider. Take time to map out the process, points of contact, and any deliverables you’ll need along the way. Not only will you be prepared as a result, but you’ll have more control over the experience from beginning to end.
The right approach.
These days, networking is a critical part of most marketing strategies. Many design firms don’t advertise employment opportunities, so instead of limiting your search to companies with open positions, focus your energy on the opportunity to make connections and gain valuable feedback instead. Doing so demonstrates that you’re being proactive and removes the pressure of finding or being offered a job. And, your preparedness may open up more opportunities for feedback, referrals, and even a second meeting.
Finally, the bigger picture.
As mentioned above, it’s important to make sure that each individual piece of your personal marketing campaign is intentional, consistent, and has a clear purpose. Take the time to develop your strategy. Consider the voice and tone of your materials, the design and visuals, the different outlets for connecting with potential employers, and a plan for organizing and managing your connections and the experiences they have. Make sure everything works together seamlessly and intentionally. While it may seem like a potentially unnecessary amount of time and effort in the beginning, being prepared when an opportunity presents itself will make it well worth the effort.
Remember, marketing yourself is so much more than your portfolio and getting a meeting. When you approach the process with a solid plan, you create a strong, secure foundation to move forward on. And, more importantly, you may just find that it’s the extra nudge you need to set yourself apart from the competition. That alone is invaluable.